i played with lye again today. 

...i think the word you're looking for is "dumbass." 

yesterday's lye mishap made me want to get mad revenge in the form of something extra tasty. so last night i stayed up way past my bedtime of 4pm plotting today's recipe and brainstorming like claire-danes-in-homeland crazy. when i found some ground chicken in my freezer and googled the usda number to make sure it wasn't contaminated with salmonella, i took it as a sign: pretzel potstickers.

 i have had pretzel potstickers before, at talde, in brooklyn. but if you know me, you know i love my dumplings extra super doughy and not crispy like talde's were. (humblebrag: one time jeffrey steingarten calmly berated me for this, saying that thick dumpling wrappers are a defect. i told him he was racist. no i didn't. but i still love thick dumplings.)  

so this morning, when i got home from the bakery, i made my thick doughy wrappers and a really delightful chicken and apple filling. i was excited about my filling and feeling confident with the lye. and then began the trial and error... and trial and error again... 

here are my notes: 

first try: add lye to boiling water. boil dumplings three minutes. transfer to a skillet with oil and pan fry.

result:  don't add lye to boiling water. it'll make a scary noise and fizzy on up the pot. 

second try: add lye to cold water, bring it to a boil. boil dumplings for three minutes. pan fry. 

result: a few were mind blowingly good, a few got really burnt and tasted like chemicals and made my mouth tingle. 

third try: dip dumplings in cold lye bath. boil in plain water for three minutes. pan fry.

result: all of the lye came off, they did not taste pretzely.  

fourth try: add lye to cold water, bring it to a boil. boil dumplings for three minutes.  transfer to plain boiling water and boil for two more minutes. pan fry.

result: same as second try. 

fifth try: add lye to cold water, bring it to a boil. boil dumplings for three minutes. transfer to a colander and rinse with cold water. pan fry. 

result: same as second try. 

sixth try: same as fourth try, and then rinse dumplings in cold water after they'd been fried. 

result: soggy, ew. 

seventh try: same as fourth try, and then bake at 400 for 10 minutes. 

result: same as second try and f.m.l. 

overall result:  i cannot advise you to make these. some of them were amazing (especially with mustard!), but some i had to spit out as i had visions of lawsuits. i read somewhere that lye is best used on yeast doughs, but it would be so awesome to figure out how to make these. alas, unless you have protective gear and are up for a fun challenge (and want to share your results with me!), literally don't try this at home. 

is this a fool me once type of thing? or am i actually a total dumbass who barely passed high school chemistry? 

luckily! i did make a pretty delicious potsticker filling which i am happy to share. i recommend using it as the filling with this potsticker recipe. it has great directions for making the dough and cooking them. and you have no risk of burning your hair off or having to call poison control or what not.

chicken and apple potsticker filling 

1 lb ground chicken

1/2 c chicken broth

2 tsp each: soy sauce, rice vinegar, white sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 an onion, chopped and sauteed til soft

1 medium apple, chopped


combine all ingredients and voila!